Organization

You may be an organized person by nature — in that case, read this chapter anyway — or you may have gotten away with sloppy organizational skills during your undergrad days. Graduate school, as I often tell my students, is not hard. Half the battle is staying organized. I seem to be giving this lecture quite often, because when I confront students about the lack of productivity, the first thing that I hear from my junior students is that they have a lot going on in their lives. They always state that they don’t have enough time. They come up with a huge list of things that prevent them from being productive in research. Rather than telling them, “Tough luck — you simply have to cope with it,” I have started to get a little more philosophical, or sophisticated, in my response. After all, I have a lot more gray hair than I did when I started my career!

“We all have 24 hours in a day and whether you are a student or a professor, chair or dean, director or president, you have to make sure that things get done right and on time.”

“Graduate school, in my opinion, is the best to place to flex your time management skills, learn how to prioritize, and finish work and projects on time.”

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